Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Neil's Story

There are just as many ways of telling a story as there are ways of living a life. Talking to Neil Crossland at The Wellspring, we realised that he was already hatching a form for telling his own tale. Here is the beginning of Neil's Story...

It always starts the same way.

One minute he is huddled on the floor in a cold cathedral doorway wrapped tightly in his dark blue sleeping bag, not so much to protect him against the cold - no, cold had never really been a problem for him - it was more a protective bubble against a world he had no love for and which had no love for him. The next, he is soaring through the sky on large, strong, translucent wings, each beat like a crack of thunder matching his own heartbeat. It always seems so real, flying like a rocket through the familiar territory of Stockport his hometown and straight through Manchester to territories unknown. It always ends the same way to, flying back over Stockport, over the cathedral where he has spent so many nights hidden away, wings starting to shrink, turning back into his stick thin arms, then he falls...

He woke with a start, the moonlight shining through the arches of St Mary's church, "Back to the real world," he thought to himself. The wind was howling down the streets of Market Place; he remembered coming here with his father when he was younger, each stall holding a myriad of wonders.

Now he has different memories of the place. Being homeless and sleeping rough in the streets that once made him happy to visit has taken its toll on him. Now all he looks for is a place to keep dry every night and hopes not to be hassled by the youths and drunks that plague the streets after the sun has fallen.

One recent night, waking suddenly from another dream, he thought he noticed someone watching him but quick as a blink they were gone. What unsettled him most about it, in the quick glance he had, was the person's features: long silver hair that seemed to shimmer like glitter in the moonlight, sharp piercing eyes the colour of fresh-grown leaves after winter has lost its bite and. . . no, surely not, pointed ears?

lost glasses, mono print on vintage book

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